Ancient Monuments

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Bell barrow on West Rudham Common, 950m SSE of the Grange

A Scheduled Monument in Harpley, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7915 / 52°47'29"N

Longitude: 0.6923 / 0°41'32"E

OS Eastings: 581636.80767

OS Northings: 324942.789109

OS Grid: TF816249

Mapcode National: GBR Q66.V6B

Mapcode Global: WHKQ9.L3W9

Entry Name: Bell barrow on West Rudham Common, 950m SSE of the Grange

Scheduled Date: 9 November 1959

Last Amended: 26 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010560

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21345

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Harpley

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: East with West Rudham

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a bell barrow located on a south west facing slope,
immediately to the south of a disused railway. The site is near the western
edge of the Good Sands region of upland north west Norfolk. The barrow is
visible as a sub circular earthen mound standing to a maximum height of c.3m
and measuring c.25m north east-south west by c.20m north west-south east
at the base, with a surrounding berm up to 6m in width. This is enclosed by a
circular ditch from which earth was quarried and used in the construction of
the barrow. The ditch has become partly infilled but is marked on the south
and east sides of the barrow by a hollow up to 10m wide and 0.8m deep in the
ground surface. The barrow, including the ditch, has an overall diameter of
c.48m. On the west and north sides, the ditch has been cut into to a depth of
c.1m by irregular digging thought to be connected with the construction of the
adjacent railway but the lower part of it will survive as a buried feature
beneath the later disturbance.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary
monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds
covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The
burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery
and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows
(particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known
examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods
provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early
prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as
providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a
particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would
normally be considered to be of national importance.

The bell barrow on West Rudham Common survives well, and the later quarrying
on the west and north west sides has affected no more than 30% of the total
area. Archaeological information concerning its construction and the manner
and duration of its use, as well as evidence for the local environment at that
time, will be contained in the barrow mound, in soils buried beneath the
mound and in the fill of the ditch. The barrow is located between two
Neolithic long barrows which survive c.550m to the west and a dispersed group
of round barrows between 1600m and 1750m to the east and north east, and the
topographical association with these gives it added interest and importance.
As a group, the barrows provide evidence for the character and development of
the prehistoric population of the area.

Source: Historic England


3649: West Norfolk, West Rudham,
in Norwich Castle Museum, NCM 10.939, (1936)

Source: Historic England

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